I haven’t mentioned my recreational biking here much of late, mainly because I figure not many people find it as interesting as I do. Plus there’s not that much to say. When I try to tell Benji a story about my bike ride, the story pretty much always goes, “I went out for a bike ride with Papa Joe today. We rode, and we rode, and we rode for a long, long, long time. Now I am very tired.” This is good; biking stories with excitement tend to involve emergency vehicles, trips to the hospital, damaged bikes, and other less-than-ideal outcomes.
But I want to call out today’s ride, because I achieved a long-standing goal: Riding 100 miles in less than 5 hours. Today’s ride was a big organized ride, Flying Wheels Summer Century.
Flying Wheels is the perfect ride to go for a sub-5-hour century, because it’s flat compared to most long rides around here: I only logged about 3500′ of climbing for that entire 100 miles*. It’s also perfect because lots of guys I know show up, so there’s usually a large group to share the work (read: I can wheelsuck** most of the time).
Anyway, I won’t waste a bunch of time describing blow-by-blow the ride, but I will say that I worked very hard the entire time and at the end, one other guy and I rode together into the darn headwind, working our tails off to get back in less than 5 hours. And we did, and we won’t denigrate the fact that our time was 4:55. I’m proud of my 20.3 mph average, and I’m sticking to it.
*For those uninitiated readers, a ride qualifies as “hard” for hills if you do 1000′ of climbing in 10 miles, so in this case, 3500′ of climbing in 35 miles.
**Also for the uninitiated, “wheelsuck” is a slightly derogatory term for drafting behind stronger people instead of taking your turn pulling on the front of a paceline. I spent a lot of time wheelsucking today.